EDITORIAL: Chronic complaint

Fraser Health Authority review suggests care improvements won't happen all the while underfunding continues

The recent lengthy – and often delayed – review of Fraser Health Authority has suggested some worthwhile aims and objectives.

However, given the minister of health’s belief Fraser Health’s budget is adequate, don’t expect a lot of improvements in health care any time soon.

The review’s main conclusion is that acute-care hospitals are utilized more than they need to be by residents. Hence costs keep rising – given that acute care is far and away the most expensive type of care offered.

Why are people in the Fraser Health region – including those who consider Peace Arch Hospital their own – going to acute care so often? In many cases, it’s because they don’t have a family doctor. Population growth and a limited number of general practitioners mean that at least one-third of the population do not have anyone in the health system who sees them regularly, knows them by name or has a good handle on their medical issues.

Others have a chronic condition for which there is no option aside from acute care. The review notes the value of setting up clinics that specialize in treating people with certain conditions, or are part of certain groups. Unfortunately, only nine per cent of the FHA budget goes towards community care – with 57 per cent going to acute care.

Some people in acute care are awaiting admission into long-term care. While many new facilities have been built in the region, most are for-profit, within the private sector, and thus unaffordable for many. The number of beds subsidized by the province is limited, and consequently hospitals are unnecessarily plugged.

There are also limited mental-health services available, despite 17 per cent of the adult population and 14 per cent of the youth population struggling with mental illness.

NDP critic Judy Darcy points out that Fraser Health gets 28 per cent of the overall spending on health in B.C., yet is home to 36 per cent of the population.

The fact that specialist hospitals such as BC Children’s are in Vancouver offers only a partial explanation for this discrepancy.

Looking at the review, it’s hard not to reach the conclusion that this region has been chronically underfunded in health services for a long, long time.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey students donate 2,000 pairs of socks

Initiative part of the Leo Club program

Surrey hosts grand-opening ceremony of North Surrey arena complex

‘Accessible’ facility features three sheets of ice

Lord Tweedsmuir tops Tamanawis in all-cat fight for Surrey RCMP Classic title

Panthers’ Jaeden Reid was named MVP at all-Surrey boys tournament

Trade to hometown team a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Surrey Eagles defenceman

Kieran O’Hearn gets to play in front of family, who live just minutes from South Surrey Arena

White Rock solid waste open house scheduled

Event to take place next month

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

VIDEO: SPCA and RCMP remove several animals, including pig, at private animal rescue in Langley

Home at 5500 block of 216th Street has undergone multiple seizures over the past five years

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Vancouver police probe second homicide in less than 24 hours

Woman was found dead in her Gastown home

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Most Read

l -->